Swan Lake Auditions

Swan Lake auditions are now behind us.
(we survived, thank God.)

Friday night, Annika and I stayed at the Munro studio after the class I assist to work on a project she has for school, as well as a few things for auditions. She helped me with my chaines and jetes and the darn tombe, coupe, jete which I despise. Most of what I have to work on will take thought and time. She helped me get the feel, which is the biggest hurdle.

Saturday began back at the Munro studio to work the front desk during classes before my audition since everyone else was downtown for the first audition group. I think it ended up being good for me, so I wasn’t just sitting in my house drowning in nerves, waiting for it to be late enough for me to justify being early.
(The struggle is real)
We got there, registered, got our audition numbers, and the madness began.

We did a quick barre in our number order, then put on pointe shoes immediately for the rest of the two hours we had for the audition. Thankfully, I wasn’t in the first group, but I don’t know if that was really a good thing. Our group was pretty level in ability, which meant that there wasn’t really any advanced girls, which seemed to be what it was favoring. (I mean, obviously, it’s Swan Lake.) I think of all the groups, we probably looked to be the least together and able, but that’s going up against some hard hitters, so I don’t think it really worked too much against us as a whole.
There were a few things that were out of my depths, and even things they would have understood had I not tried. And I didn’t think I was going to on two specific things. One was really overwhelming for me in the moment and I got permission to sit it out, which was tough for me to even ask. But I was near tears and knew I was capable of the different steps, my brain just wasn’t wrapping around putting them together for some reason. But, thankfully, Mari is a doll and took a second to help me understand what was happening and I did it on demi-pointe to at least put forth effort. The other part was at the end and my toes were so dead I was afraid to try what they were asking would make me roll my ankle. (Keeping in mind the last time I rolled my ankle was when I pushed it at the end of an audition.) So instead of sitting it out all together, I did it on demi-pointe as well and didn’t beat myself over it.

We started with the different variations. They were pretty fun and actually not excruciatingly difficult. I mean, I couldn’t up and perform them right then and there, but I know I could learn them and be capable of doing them, which left me feeling really good. We had some bits that had turns I couldn’t do, which was really frustrating for me personally. I still tried, and did demi-pointe if I couldn’t manage, but it was definitely frustrating to be incapable when I know I should be able to do it. They were in two different variations, and the very last one, I said, “Screw it, I can’t do it, just do everything else well” and made myself include the sous-sous after the turn in that. Low and behold, the very last time, I got the turn. It was when we repeated it a second time, so I had just done the sous-sous and went in to do the turn again and managed to do it. So I left that segment feeling pretty okay.
 I started hearing complaints that they were saving the swan parts for last, in a “how dare they, what are they thinking?” kind of way, but really it made sense. Swans takes a ton of endurance, and if you can’t do it at the end of audition, there’s no way you’ll make it through performing. We did a core bit where you had your leg in arabesque (really Giselle-y) then switched to three brushes forward, then switched legs, and back to the brushes. If that makes sense. It had a lot of specific head direction, and was required to have your leg at least 90 degrees (consistently) as well as keeping in time with the people in front of you. I actually found this quite fun, and my knee held up for it pretty well. I know I have vast room for improvement, but the point of audition is to show you’re capable where you are, not that you’re perfect.
We then broke into groups of four based on height and did the first part of cygnets.
Thankfully, I’m friends with girls my height, so it was fun to get to do this bit with them. I knew I wasn’t able to do it all, especially with all the pointe work it required and the speed it required it, but I didn’t want to hold them back because of my inabilities. I managed to be able to do what I was able to do well, and the things I wasn’t as good at, I was able to maintain the same height as the other girls as to not throw them off. In the end it was fun! And didn’t leave me hating myself after, so that was nice.

Overall, we survived. And I think it’s safe to say this is the best I’ve felt after an audition. I’m a bit nervous, but I know I did my best and showed them what I’m capable of. I’m not really worried.
Regardless, I’m very excited to be a part. I’m grateful to have wonderful friends by my side throughout this entire process, and excited for this season ahead. I know it’s going to be long, exhausting, and slightly overwhelming trying to balance this, recital, and work but I also know I will be sad when it is all overwith. This is what makes me feel alive.

For the first time in a long time, I love my life. I love everything about it. I wake up and don’t dread anything. There’s stress and complications and things that aren’t perfect, but it makes sense. It has a reason. I’m not afraid of being kicked, so to speak, for no reason or nervous at what the world may throw at me.
I have beautiful people in my life that make the things that aren’t perfect more bearable. I’ll have insurance again soon and hopefully can get back to the doctor to maybe run more tests to see what certain foods are hating me. I’m not afraid of that either, which is nice. I like where I am, and I’m so grateful to get to feel this way.

(post Swan Lake audition)
I missed my friends so much that I stayed for festival rehearsal even though I didn’t have to be there. I love them, and I love getting to be in this environment and among these people.

(Mrs. Alex watching the run through. She’s so incredibly gorgeous it kills me. How she stands there, so poised, then nonchalantly busts out these complex moves with such grace. Gah, I love her. She’s a wonderful human being. I love her heart and how she wants to see us succeed.)

Post Audition polaroid.


Nutcracker Auditions 2015

The day has come and gone where everyone in the studio breaks into three groups by level and does our best to execute whatever combinations our director throws at us.

Thank God.

My Saturday actually began at the ballet studio (not the company studio) substitute teaching three classes; a 6-7-8 ballet, a 4-5 ballet, and a 6-12 tap.
That’s right, tap.

The first ballet class was in the big studio. Half of the girls couldn’t care less to be there, and the other half seemed interested enough to try. I had no idea how to structure this class. So I asked the girls if they typically started at the barre. I gave them really simple stuff and just went with it.
(Also, before I had a grandma ask if she could stay inside and watch. Um. No. But I’ll crack the door so you can get pictures.) (sigh.)
The girls were really distracted. Worse than some of my tiny ones. I’m amazed at how some of these teachers can keep them in line, since I’ve always seemed to struggle.
We made it through class, that’s over.

Then the 4-5’s rocked my world.
They focused better than any class I’ve had (save the 9-12 ballet) and actually participated. So much that I ran out of things to do before our time was up. I winged it (wong it? whatever.) and managed. They started losing focus towards the end, but that was the least of my worries since they did so well in the beginning.
(Mind you, they were still a little distracted. Just, nothing like my other classes.)

The tap class only had 6 girls in it. One was in my rambunctious ballet class from that morning, and her sister was another.We started off with some warm ups, then we ran a few things from notes one of the teachers left. (I youtubed and made my own notes and then, ya know, forgot them.)
(It was a mess.)
(But, a successful mess.)

One of the girls flat out just lay on the carpet squares the whole time. Her sister joined her shortly after. They were only interested in the fun part.  Instead of insisting they joined, I just let them sit there, but no fun part if they didn’t participate. One of the older girls said she would rather work on things so that’s what we did. The three that cared got to learn new steps, and then do some of their favorite steps, and work on whatever they wanted to improve on. A fourth girl kinda went in and out on participating. When she did participate, she started showing improvement. She has potential, if she’ll work for it.
I was really proud of the three that participated. They learned new things and picked up on them really quickly. They improved on other things and really showed a lot of talent. Plus we had fun with it.
After class, the older sister who did nothing left class with the rest. I over heard a man’s voice who I think to be her Father say, “You need to apologize for wasting her time.” So she came in and apologized and I told her she was forgiven, but that next week she really needed to participate.
(Score one for Dad!)

I wasn’t feeling all that well to start off the morning, but I pushed through. By the time tap was over, I was getting pretty light headed. I went to get some lunch before auditions, but I was pretty hesitant. I knew I needed it to get through the hours of auditions, but I knew eating would make me sick. I ate anyway, hoping it would hit before they started.
It did. But then it didn’t.

I got there early, and was fine, until my stomach decided to digest at 2:57pm when auditions started at, ya know, 3pm.
It took everything in me to mind-over-matter enough to start that audition, my hope being that once we started I’d forget about it and push through.
(I did mention it to Elizabeth and told her if I looked pale to pull me.)
Barre went well. My stomach was angry, but I made it through. I did the grande plies and my knee was okay, I guess. I think I was too focused to notice too much.

When we moved to center, my stomach was forgotten about, but I was beginning to feel faint and fuzzy.
And of course I was in the first group. And of course Elizabeth was watching when I completely bombed the first thing we did.
I couldn’t help but laugh. Like. What else can I do? I’m sick and my knee is in pain and weak and I’m still auditioning. It’s rather comical in itself.

I did my best and did what I could. I’m a pretty terrible tester and therefore kinda suck at auditions as it is.
I have no idea what my face did. It could have been a perpetual “oops” or it could have looked like I was having the time of my life from laughing at myself.

We did these jete’s across the floor at one point. Four jetes. Arms in 3rd, arms in 5th, arms in 2nd, arms in 1st.
Apparently I switched 2nd and 1st, but I really don’t know arms so whatever. No one seemed to care. Everyone’s seemed different.
Now, I really suck at jete’s. I can’t get a good enough plie and my stomach sucks so whatever. But I did my best anyway. When we did them on the left side after a good firm scolding on how badly our arms sucked, I was off to a rough start (3rd person, ya know, after two claras from last year.) but I just went for it. At the end I heard Ms. Munro say, “Good arms!” and I finished off and was very pleased.
My jetes may suck, but I did what she asked, and I was the only one complimented.

So. That was nice.

We did parts from each dance, and I struggled with most. They know my knee is jacked up, though, so I did my best to do the combination anyway. I flubbed a few things, but oh well.
When it came to Russian, I sat out. Most of the work involved my bad knee and I know it’s not a role I’ll get anyway. I went up to Mrs. Alex and said, “Not because I don’t value the Nutcracker, but is it okay if I sit this one out? It’s on my bad knee.” She laughed and said of course and Emerson and I sat that one out. (She had sprained her right ankle pretty badly.)
Then the last thing they did was fouette turns which all of us had a choice in doing. I can’t do them on pointe, so I sat out.
Cheyanne, however, rocked them. I mean, everyone did well, but Cheyanne just blew it out of the water. I was so proud!

So, it’s over.
I’m pretty proud of how I did, even though it was rough. Just the fact that I could attempt this audition level was good for me. Last year there was no way I could. No way. The fact I’ve grown so much this year is enough for me.
They know how I dance, they know how I perform, they know what I’m capable of. They know I’m a hard worker and if I don’t know something I’ll figure it out. They know I’m reliable.
I’m not worried.

(But I’m so glad it’s over.)

At one point, when Ms. Munro showed us the Spanish variation, a swarm of girls all asked me different things at once. It was overwhelming, and I was uncertain myself. So I told them off, kinda. That this is an audition and they had to figure it out. Abarrane asked about an arm in one of the things, and it was something I knew the answer to and was simple, so I didn’t mind that. But man having everyone rely on me to the point I can’t take care of myself is too much.

It was an audition. It wasn’t a class. They’re watching everything you do. Act up and it could hurt you.

So yeah, it’s over, we should know in a week or two.
I’m not worried, but I’m also trying to not think about it. I did my best and I know they won’t give me something they don’t think I can handle. They’ll put me where they need me and I’m okay with that 100%.

Also, my audition number was 89, so Elizabeth and I decided that Taylor Swift was clearly my patronus that day.